Ah, the first date. The chance for new love. Undeniably, they usually make for at least a little bit of excitement: a crucial moment that could fan the flames or snuff out the spark. For both parties, a barrage of questions are racing in their heads: What if I have something in my teeth? Do we get another drink? Did I just say something that I shouldn’t have?
For ladies, the most important question is: ‘What's going on in his head, anyway?’
It might not seem like it, but men have the same thought processes as women do. Definitely, nerves are involved, as Jome Silayan, a businessman who also stars in television shows, confesses. "I'm super torpe when I have a crush on a girl,” laughs Jome. “I can't even speak to her. I freak out. I panic. But, lately, I've been learning to keep my cool.” Thomas Caja, an account manager and travel photographer agrees, saying that most of their fears stem from making a mistake that would ruin their chances with a girl that they like. "Siyempre kinakabahan din ako, kasi ayaw ko mag screw-up." Their beliefs about their perceived limitations come into play. “I like to talk, to communicate, to get to know people,” shares Joaco Canas, a professional football player.“When I didn't speak that much English before, my God, it was frustrating: people not understanding me and not being able to understand other people."
Their date’s comfort is also primarily on their minds. Jome reveals that a lot of pampering is involved: “I do plan the stuff we're going to do. For instance, I'd love to cook for her. I'd love to play music for her. Take her out somewhere nice.” On the actual date, meeting your comfort and needs are definitely a concern, as Abdul Ontok, a military neurosurgeon concurs. "Kung gusto niya ang place, kung comfortable siya. Kung ano yung paguusapan namin. More on, sa kanya naka focus: kung ok sa kanya ang food, ok yung ambiance."
When they are attracted to a woman, there is a natural curiosity to learn as much about her as possible. Marlon Stockinger, a professional race car driver, says that first dates are usually all about getting to know each other better, without any anticipation about anything beyond what’s happening in front of them. “Obviously, there's the physical attraction, that's why you end up there,” says Marlon. “Outside of that, first dates are when you're intimately beginning to know the person.” They find delight in discovering something new about the person in front of them, taking in all the small things that makes an individual special. "I like to listen to people,” shares Joaco. “For me, it's more about getting to know a person and not really wonder much about anything else.”
Contrary to popular belief, men like to keep things real, as Thomas reveals. "Unang iniisip ko, dapat ipakita ko lang kung ano yung ako, yung tunay na ako," he says, "Di naman neccessarily, best foot forward. Siyempre, kelangan din. Pero kung first date, gusto ko yung totoo kami sa isa't isa, walang halong acting." Marlon agrees, saying that being authentic allows genuine connections to form. “If you try to be someone you're not, further down the line, when you get into a relationship with that person, it's going to bite you back. By being real and present, we would both generally know if we like each other for who we are.”
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Chemistry is also critical, as men use first dates as a gauge for how well you two relate to each other in the long term, shares Anthony. "I want to be with a girl who I can have deep conversations with about topics that are deeper than the superficial exchanges that usually happen on first dates,“ Anthony relates, adding that first dates are also a way to see if there are any common interest between them. “I like to talk about nerdy things,” he says, “If I can vibe with a girl on those, I'm in.” Each new fact uncovered will form opinions and assumptions about whether the two of you would be a dynamic duo or should stay solo. “First dates for me are more about how we flow with one another,” says Marlon. Anthony agrees, “The ability to hold a conversation is important,” he confesses. “The fact that we can match each other in a stimulating one matters to me.”
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Beyond everything else, first dates are an opportunity for men to enjoy moments with a woman they are interested in. Having a relaxed, easy vibe is crucial. In spite of their initial planning, men allow the date to unfold organically leaving certain things to fate. Jome reveals: “I let things happen spontaneously, that's where the magic happens.”
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Photographs by Pexels.com and Unsplash.com; and courtesy of Jome Silayan, Marlon Stockinger, Joaco Cañas, and Anthony Wahl